Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Prison Rape as Policy
America’s prison-industrial complex, like the health-insurance industry, is not designed to solve the problem it is ostensibly intended to address. The healthcare industry is a financial turnstile providing employment and profits to insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies and other vendors; patient health is a means to an end. Similarly, prisons are jobs programs and tax boons to localities starving for revenue; prisoner rehabilitation is rarely in the equation.

Prisons are hellholes. Prison literature and biographical reflections, from Dickens or Solzhenitsyn, Malcolm X or Mumia Abu-Jamal, are testaments to truth telling and courage, not favorable prison conditions. As a document, the NPREC report reads like a research backgrounder for a futurist horror film. It paints a truly gruesome portrait of America’s prison conditions. Sadly, the report’s cast of characters does not include a Cagney of “Public Enemy” or a George Jackson at San Quentin or a Frank “Big Black” Smith at Attica. Without mass social unrest outside, the upheaval of the ’30s and the ‘70s, the culture inside the prison is one of victims and predators, not revolutionaries...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Canada's image lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling | George Monbiot
Until now I believed that the nation that has done most to sabotage a new climate change agreement was the United States. I was wrong. The real villain is Canada. Unless we can stop it, the harm done by Canada in December 2009 will outweigh a century of good works.

In 2006 the new Canadian government announced it was abandoning its targets to cut greenhouse gases under the Kyoto protocol. No other country that had ratified the treaty has done this. Canada was meant to have cut emissions by 6% between 1990 and 2012. Instead they have already risen by 26%.

It is now clear that Canada will refuse to be sanctioned for abandoning its legal obligations. The Kyoto protocol can be enforced only through goodwill: countries must agree to accept punitive future obligations if they miss their current targets. But the future cut Canada has volunteered is smaller than that of any other rich nation. Never mind special measures; it won't accept even an equal share. The Canadian government is testing the international process to destruction and finding that it breaks all too easily. By demonstrating that climate sanctions aren't worth the paper they're written on, it threatens to render any treaty struck at Copenhagen void...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Local trees & c.

Glenn Greenwald on Tom Friedman

Tom Friedman can declare with a straight face that "anyone who shoots up innocent people is ... mentally imbalanced" without seeing how clearly that applies to himself and those who think like he does. It's that self-absorbed disconnect -- seeing Hasan's murder of American soldiers as an act of consummate evil and sickness while refusing to see our own acts in a similar light -- that shapes most of our warped political discourse. And note the morality on display here: Hasan attacks soldiers on a military base of a country that has spent the last decade screaming to the world that "we're at war!!," and that's a deranged and evil act, while Friedman cheers for an unprovoked war that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and displaced millions more -- all justified by sick power fantasies, lame Mafia dialogue, and cravings more appropriate for a porno film than a civilized foreign policy -- and he's the arbiter of Western reason and sanity...